Holy Names University has entered into discussions with a buyer who is interested in purchasing its 60-acre Oakland Campus for educational purposes, according to an anonymous source familiar with the talks. This person was not allowed to discuss it publicly.
The buyer's identity was not known Tuesday. The campus is being sold and preserved, but Oakland officials are increasingly concerned that it will be turned into housing. Holy Names has asked for roughly $70m.
In March, city leaders wrote to Holy Names to urge the university to find a new educational institution that would keep the campus open after Holy Names closed. The city views the university as vital for its workforce development and economic growth.
Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, in April, sent out a release claiming that the university acted in bad faith. She claimed in the release that there were no valid reasons why the campus couldn't be preserved for educational purposes. Kaplan warned that any residential project would have to go through a lengthy entitlement process.
Holy Names announced in the spring that it had failed in its search to find a successor institution for the university and campus. Officials at the university said that the $200 million of deferred maintenance required on the campus had probably deterred potential candidates. After defaulting on a loan of $49 million for the campus in late March, it listed property for sale.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Jeanine hawk told me that in March, university officials had made contact with 103 historically Black colleges and Universities about taking over a campus. Vice President for Finance and Administration Jeanine Hawk told me in March that the university had not been able to reach out to any small liberal arts colleges in the Bay Area.
A source with knowledge of the property stated that six weeks after the campus was put on the market, it had seen interest from investors and buyers who wanted to keep the campus as an educational facility. Holy Names' ongoing negotiations with the potential buyer could turn that interest into reality. The campus includes 15 buildings including a chapel and performing arts center. It also has a library, and a 450-bed dormitory for students.
Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Holy Names University, said that the university is 'pleased' with the fact that discussions are continuing to be productive.
He declined to provide any further details. Holy Names will close permanently at the end of this spring semester on May 10.